Toner Cartridges: To Refill or to Buy a New One?

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If you use a laser printer or copier, one of the most important parts is the toner cartridge. However, you should expect that it will get used up after some time. So, what do you do at this point? suggests that you should consider refilling the cartridge or buying a new one for high-quality prints. In this post, we will compare the two methods to help you make the right decision.

Refilling Your Toner Cartridge

When you buy toner cartridges, especially OEM (original equipment manufacturer model) and generic models, they allow you to refill and continue using them once the toner is used up. In most cases, you can refill toner cartridges about three-four times.

Advantages of Refilling Toner Cartridges

The main advantage of refilling the toner cartridges is helping to cut the cost of printing. Instead of immediately spending a lot of money to acquire a new toner cartridge, refilling the toner cartridge offers you an opportunity to save some cash. If you are in business, this cash can be directed to other areas, such as product development. Here are other benefits of refilling your toner cartridge:

  • Refilling helps to increase the utility of materials used to make the toner cartridge.
  • You reduce the amount of waste getting into the landfills.
  • It is a good way to understand how the toner cartridge works.
  • You pull down the cost of printing significantly.

Cons of refilling

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While the benefits of refilling toner cartridges are not in doubt, the process comes with its own share of cons, including the following.

  • The print quality goes down significantly.
  • You might need to acquire additional cartridges for printing high-quality grades.
  • You need to be prepared to deal with the mess (spillovers) when refilling the cartridge.
  • Even with instructions, some people find the process technical and require help of a technician.

How to Refill Your Cartridge

The process of refilling a toner cartridge is pretty straightforward and anyone can do it by following the right instructions. Here are the main steps to follow:

  • Check the model of your toner cartridge and order a refill kit from a trusted vendor. The kit is delivered in a box that incorporates a number of things, such as the toner, a funnel, a sealing plug, new toner, and a soldering iron.
  • In addition to the above accessories, the kit also comes with detailed instructions that you should use. After reading through instructions, remove the toner cartridge from the printer and heat the soldering iron. Then, drill a small hole (close to the top) on the toner cartridge.
  • Pour out any unused toner that might still be in the cartridge. Then, shake the new toner bottle and use a funnel to pour it into the cartridge.
  • Seal the hole completely so that no toner can leak when printing. You have done it! So, go ahead and continue enjoying quality prints using the refilled toner cartridge.

Buy a New Toner Cartridge

While the idea of refilling the toner cartridge is great, there are instances when it will simply not desirable. For example, if you only print high-quality documents for your clients, the best option is going for new cartridges.

Advantages of buying a new toner cartridge

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  • It is a great option especially when high-quality printing is needed.
  • Replacing toner cartridges is easy and fast.
  • You do not have to worry about messing your surfaces.
  • The toner cartridges can be replaced fast.
  • No expertise is needed to replace the toner cartridge.


The main disadvantage of going for new toner cartridges is that they are very expensive. In most cases, high-quality OEM toner cartridges might be as expensive as the printer itself.

Types of toner cartridges

When you decide to buy a new toner cartridge, it is also prudent to ensure you select the right model. So, what are the main types of toner cartridges?

1. OEM (original equipment manufacturer) Toner Cartridges

These are the toner cartridges that are designed by the manufacturer of your printer. The cartridges are designed with the latest technologies and are used for high-quality prints. The main issue with the OEM cartridges is that they are very expensive.

2. Generic Toner Cartridges

Generic toner cartridges are designed with the same technology used to make OEM models but differ in that they are made by third party companies. When you compare OEM and generic toner cartridges, the latter might come with some little physical differences to avoid copyright violations. On cost, the price of compatible toners is slightly lower compared to the OEM models.

3. Remanufactured Toner Cartridges

If you want to buy toner cartridges but want to spend less, one of the top options is remanufactured cartridges. These cartridges are designed by recycling the already used cartridges. Remanufacturing companies pick the used cartridges, clean, and inspect them. Then, they replace the worn-out sections and finally refill with new toner. One thing you need to know when using remanufactured cartridges is that the print quality will be lower when compared to OEM and generic models.

Using New and Refilled Toner Cartridges to Cut Cost of Printing

Instead of only using the new cartridges or refilling the old ones, you might also consider combining the two. This will be a great option because you can use the new cartridge to print high-quality documents and the remanufactured model for printing the ones where quality is not a priority. The effects will be keeping the cost down because the cost of printing per page with remanufactured toners is low. For example, publishers might use the remanufactured toner cartridges to print book drafts and OEM models for the final publications.

When using toner cartridges, it is important to always act smart by looking for ways of cutting costs without impacting on the overall quality of your work. Because buying a new cartridge or refilling the old one comes with unique benefits and cons, make sure to weigh them well before making the ultimate decision on the preferred option. Furthermore, the cost of combining the two might appear high but will help you to make significant savings in the long-term.